OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Former Oakland Athletics announcer Bill King has won the Ford C. Frick Award presented by the Hall of Fame for excellence in broadcasting.
The award was announced Wednesday at the winter meetings. King died in 2005 after 25 years of calling A’s games.
King liked to punctuate big plays with his signature exclamation of “Holy Toledo!” He also was known for his handlebar mustache and beard, making his face as well as his voice familiar with fans.
For nearly a half-century, King called games in the Bay Area. He started out as a fill-in on Giants broadcasts and later did play-by-play for the Raiders and Warriors. He joined the Athletics’ crew in 1981.
New York Mets general Sandy Alderson was the longtime GM of the A’s in the 1980s and ’90s, when the Bash Brothers rose to prominence. Alderson said he enjoyed King’s interest in sports and other fields.
“Outstanding! He was so fantastic. What I loved about him was he was so unlike most baseball announcers. He was very erudite, loved language, had great command of it, but infused that language with tremendous energy and enthusiasm and passion,” Alderson said.
“He felt strongly about certain topics, both in the game and out of the game. He loved German food. He loved the opera. He always drove a car that was at least 20 years old and was just an incredible personality, an eccentric in a positive way that stood out even in the Bay Area, which is full of eccentrics,” he said. “I think one of the reasons he didn’t get in earlier is because he was so well known for his other sports, as well, and people forgot how good he was in baseball.”
King was among eight finalists on the ballot for the Frick honor. Gary Cohen, Jacques Doucet, Ken Harrelson, Pat Hughes, Mike Krukow, Ned Martin and Dewayne Staats also were considered by a 17-member panel.
King will be recognized on July 29 during the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown, New York.
“Listening to Bill King was like watching the game on the radio,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “I once complimented him on his basketball commentary and how he was able to do it so well despite how fast the action is. He said, ‘Mark, basketball is actually the easiest sport to call. Baseball is the toughest because of all the dead time you have to fill.’ We are very happy for Bill and his family for being honored with the Ford Frick Award.”